Ilocos Norte heightens surveillance activities vs ASF entry


Jun. 17, 2021 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVet), has heightened its monitoring and surveillance activities at pig farms and slaughterhouses to further control and prevent the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in the province.

On June 14, 2021, Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Loida Valenzuela, confirmed that a remote sitio in Solsona was reported to be the site of the province's first ASF incidence.

"Unfortunately, we have documented our index case in Solsona, which is close to Apayao and Abra provinces, both of which have ASF outbreaks. We are still investigating if wild pigs from the mountains have triggered the entrance of ASF in the area," Dr. Valenzuela said.

Nearly 30 hogs within the 500-meter radius of the affected area were culled to prevent the spread of the swine virus.

Moreover, the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Provincial Government, and the Local Government of Solsona are cooperating to implement critical steps such as surveillance sampling, disease investigation, disinfection, swine inventory, transport regulation measures, and other technical activities to control and prevent the spread of hog disease.

"PGIN will provide livelihood assistance to affected hog raisers and the Local Government of Solsona has pledged to assist their constituents as well. In addition, we are in the process of completing the necessary documents for the Department of Agriculture's Quick Response Fund application, which will compensate hog raisers Php 5,000.00 per head of pig culled," Dr. Valenzuela explained.

She also urged farmers and livestock raisers to enroll in the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation for the indemnification for agricultural losses caused by infections or other natural calamities.

The presence of ASF in the province has had no impact on hog supplies so far. A commercial pig farm in San Nicolas produces 1,000 heads per week and even exports to adjacent provinces.

Backyard raisers, on the other hand, devote 30% of their produce to the local market. At present, pork prices are currently ranging from Php 220.00 to Php 260.00 in the open market.

"Consuming pork products should not be a source of fear because we are doing our very best to control the swine disease. Thus, we're reminding hog farmers to adhere to stringent biosecurity protocols, eliminate meat-based swill feeding, and limit interaction between pig farms. Buyers, too, should be wary of fraudulent vendors, particularly in online trading. Let us be mindful of the consequences that this disease will have on our community if it is not properly controlled." Dr. Valenzuela ended.